Category Archives: Recipes

Happy 4th of July from Bixby and the Gang

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“Whatcha doing?”

Trying to get a picture of Bixby’s big ole paws….he had other ideas.Bixby paw 7 4This was the best I could do. I have really big hands (I can palm a basketball), his are bigger. Bigger than a few months ago:HandsSurprised me, too. I’ve lost all perspective. People say, what a horse (like I’ve never heard that before) and I think, oh, he’s not that big.  I keep thinking he’s stopped growing…but it’s only slowed.

Bixby 7 4 profile

Those white marks around his face? He decided he was going to do some landscaping in the backyard by trimming the bushes that line the fence. Those are scratches from the thick brush and bites (from what, I don’t really want to know).  Silly boy.

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We’ll be missing the fireworks this year. I’m worried about leaving Bixby home alone for his first July 4th. They don’t seem to bother him too much, but for this first one, I think I should be home. Even if it is my absolutely favorite holiday. Have a safe and fun day!

Paw print

Mojo Roast Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

DSC_0544 (1600x1060)I bought a bottle of sour orange juice so I could more closely replicate the mojo marinade needed for a proper roast pork  Cubano sandwich.  I haven’t done that yet, but a recipe for mojo marinated roast chicken caught my eye.  A mojo sauce is mostly olive oil with garlic, citrus, and oregano.  I used fresh oregano instead of dried in mine.  The lemon and lime juices in the recipe are intended to get to the sour/bitter taste profile of the sour orange juice when sour orange isn’t available and regular orange juice is substituted.  Lacking a rotisserie on my grill I used the beer can roaster gadget with good result.DSC_0541 (1600x1060)A recipe for Cuban style black beans and rice worked well and fit the general theme of the plate.  I have no Idea if broccoli plays much part in the Cuban diet but I like it so I steamed some florets and gave them a squeeze of lemon.  I picked the green pepper and a couple of sweet banana peppers from my container garden to make the bean dish.  The addition of a splash of red wine vinegar to the beans right before serving them really made the dish.  I never would have thought to do that but it works!

Sammich Pr0n – Pork with Slaw

DSC_0535 (1600x1060)The thing about roast pork is that you can reheat it in a skillet and it will produce more of those crispy bits that add so much flavor.  Lard works great, duck fat is probably the best.  If those scare you olive oil works just fine.  This one has a mayo based slaw but a vinegar slaw will be just as good.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Ice Cream Delights

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It’s that time again. Time to dig out the ice cream maker and try out some new recipes. I cannot express how much I love the ease of the frozen bowl style machine. No fuss, no mess.

Pictured above is this summer’s first batch, Vanilla Nut Crunch, recipe here (where there is also a bonus kitteh)

And here are four of my favorites from the past summers:

Key Lime Pie Gelato, click here for recipes and photos.

Strawberry Ice Cream, two recipes here.

Blueberry Sorbet, recipe and photos here.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato, really my very favorite of all the recipes, is here.

For the pet lovers, in case you missed it, Bixby needed to cool off in a cute video here. He now has his own kiddie pool in the yard because flooding the bathroom nightly was not an option.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Getting ready the big holiday? Any favorite frozen treat recipes?

Double Dutch Chocolate

Tonight’s featured recipe is one of the most chocolaty ice creams ever. It takes a full cup of dark dutch cocoa and just enough sugar so it’s not too sweet. The ice cream scoop in the photo was my very first Kickstarter contribution. It works great on the hardest frozen ice cream with little effort. But in all honesty, I contributed because the presentation was so funny and the inventor was a riot.  I <3 engineers.

Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 1 cup dark dutch cocoa, unsweetened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  •  1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract

mixing bowl, ice cream freezer

In the mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugars and salt, until well blended, add milk and use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).

After it has completed its freezing cycle, you usually have a soft serve consistency, you can freeze it until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

That’s it for this week. There won’t be an exchange next week because of the holiday. I hope you have a great week and a terrific 4th! – TaMara

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Mmm… Beer Braised Spare Ribs

DSC_0521 (1600x1060)I coated these with a dry rub and was putting them into the pan when I decided to add a beer rather than the usual chicken stock.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for three hours at 325-350, uncover and drain the liquids, apply bbq sauce and cook until that sets.  They turned out pretty well but I bet a better beer would have made a difference.  I used a basic mass market light beer this time.

Frozen Treats: Vanilla Nut Crunch (and Bonus Kitteh)

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It was time to break out the ice cream maker and cool things off. I’d been focusing on gelatos the last couple of summers, but yesterday I wasn’t interested in standing over the stove and stirring an egg mixture. I dug out the instruction manual for my Cuisinart machine and sure enough, there were some simple cream-only recipes. I decided to start with vanilla.

I have two favorite ice creams, one was Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy, RIP (their new hazelnut is inedible IMHO) and Blue Bell’s Moo-llenium Crunch (fingers crossed they can come back from the shut down). I’ve mastered Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato and it’s a fine substitute for Wavy Gravy, so this time I thought I’d tackle the crunchy vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

From their description:

Classic vanilla ice cream with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds and walnut pieces.

The nuts and crunch

Vanilla ice cream recipe? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Caramel chunks? Nope, but we’ll get to that. Roasted pecans? Nope, will have to live without because I was not going to drop everything and run to the store. Almonds and walnuts? Check and check. On to the recipe:

Vanilla Nut Crunch

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp really good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (raw or roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional ;-) )

mixing bowl, ice cream maker

In the mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).

After it has completed its freezing cycle, fold in nuts and chocolate. Freeze until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Remember the caramel bits? I had a bottle of caramel syrup which made a nice topping and when I was done, it was pretty darn close to Moo-llenium Crunch. I’m sure pecans will make all the difference next time.

And here is a bonus kitteh because he had to “help” me take the photos today.

Z-Man Whatcha making

For tomorrow – Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Until then – TaMara

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Tidbits

DSC_0485 (1600x1060)I had a bit of Andouille sausage left over from the jambalaya.  We had a nice hash made with it and I always put an egg on top.  Or two.  Speaking of eggs…DSC_0488 (1600x1060)…here’s our first BLT of the season.  I wish our tomatoes were ripe but they’re not yet ready.  Adding an egg makes this a BELT.DSC_5342 (1600x1060)A neighbor called us over the other day to see their latest critter find.  They thought that a couple of swans would look nice on their pond so when offered these three they said OK.  They said that they didn’t know yet what sex any of them were, seems it’s impossible to tell at this age without a blood test.DSC_5341 (1600x1060)

They’ve been raising goats for a couple of years now, I keep hoping they will start making cheese but so far my hints haven’t worked.DSC02501 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitty!  Mrs J says it’s semi-feral and has been spoken for by one of the volunteers at the shelter but the poor woman is beset with medical issues that have her in and out of the hospital.  Not sure what the problem is except it is a gall bladder issue.  We wish her a speedy recovery.DSC_0497 (1600x1060)Mrs J said she was thinking about making a pie so I ransacked the freezers and found blueberries enough for her to make this one.  I don’t think I’ve seen that exact crust thing before.  Looks good!DSC_0501 (1600x1060)There were a few mushrooms left over from the fried mushroom project so I sauteed them in butter for a burger with Swiss cheese.  I made an impromptu dressing from ketchup, bbq sauce, and minced garlic.  Yum!DSC02502 (1600x1200)This is Ivan, a 3 month old kitten that came in with a litter of 5.  He has the cutest little socks!  They are all ready for adoption!  hint hint…

Fried Mushrooms

DSC_0494 (1600x1060)I bought a box of mushrooms the other day and they’ve been sitting on the counter since.  Thought I’d better do something with them.  I had a vague notion of “mushroom chicken something something” but decided to slice them into manageable sized pieces for breading and frying.  They were those bigger white button mushrooms, golf ball sized plus, or as the weatherman might say: “The size of golf ball sized hail.”  I’ll stop.  Anyway, the batter was 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn starch. 3/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water.  I whisked that in a bowl and dumped in the mushrooms and stirred them about to coat them, then took four or five at a time and tossed them in panko bread crumbs.  Fry in hot oil and roll them once to brown evenly.  I started when the oil reached 350 and tried to keep it there as best I could.

Mmm… jambalaya

DSC_0483 (1600x1060)It’s rainy today here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ and so I passed some time looking around for something to fix for dinner.  Found some of the Andouille sausage I made a while back and thought jambalaya might hit the spot.  I try to link to this guy whenever I can, he’s my goto guy when I do anything Cajun-style.  The link goes to a jambalaya recipe that informed my take on it today, you could do worse than spend a little time looking over his recipe collection.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Tidbits

Buffalo Leg QuartersJeffreyW uses the Tidbits title when he puts together a lot of different items in one post, so I thought I would co-opt it for this eclectic post.

It’s been a busy week of cooking, surprisingly. When stressed, I retreat to the kitchen and even in its unwelcoming state, there was solace there this week. Bixby turned one on Tuesday, I baked up some more dog biscuits for him and his best play-buddies. You can see his birthday photos here.

Then I was at the store and found chicken leg quarters on sale and sitting right next to them, my favorite bottle of wing sauce, so I made some Buffalo Leg Quarters, pictured above and recipe here. They were really good and much easier than making wings.

JeffreyW was busy in the kitchen, too and his Shrimp Mornay with Broccoli from earlier in the week looked delicious. Photos and recipe here.

What’s been cooking in your kitchen this week? Is it time to give up on indoor cooking and move it all out to the backyard? What’s up for Father’s day? Cucumber Salsa I had tonight’s featured recipe tucked away for the day I could find decent tomatoes. That day was today. And if you want other cucumber salad ideas, click here for a bunch of them.

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

  • 1 large chopped cucumber – I used an English cucumber so I didn’t have to peel or seed it.
  • 2 small chopped tomatoes
  • 3 green onions, chopped, greens included
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, chopped (seeded if you want to lower the heat)
  • 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper (opt)
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • Tortilla chips
  • Small tortillas, cut into eighths

small bowl, serving bowl

In a serving bowl, combine the top seven ingredients.  In small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.

Let the flavors blend for about thirty minutes. Serve at room temperature or ice cold with chips and tortillas.

That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day. – TaMara

 

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